If Only Out Of Vanity .... Love Yourself

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Before you read on, watch the video below.  If it wont play, search "If Only Out Of Vanity by Staceyann Chin" on YouTube.  And if that won't work, find the transcript of the performance here (though I do recommend watching, it is truly amazing).


Staceyann Chin is one of my favourite spoken word artists.  If you don't know who she is, do yourself a favour and check out her spoken word pieces on YouTube.  You will not be disappointed.  This piece is among the top 3 for sure, as it perfectly captures the kind of biracial dougla I want to be.  My absolute favourite part of this piece is the end.  Staceyann Chin delivers the closing lines in a voice that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck every time I hear them:
I want to go down in history in a chapter marked miscellaneous, because the writers could find no other way to categorize me in a world where classifcation is key.  I want to erase the straight lines, so I can be me.
As a mixed-race kid growing up in a primarily monoracial community, being "marked miscellaneous" was just about the absolute worst thing that could happen to me.  Who wants to live outside the lines when everyone else was living neatly within them?  Yet there I was, not quite fitting in with any one group of people, and sticking out like a sore thumb on multicultural day.  I wish I could go back to that little confused girl, and show her the endless possibilities that come when you abandon categories and choose to live outside the box.  I wish I could erase those boundaries that I tried to live within, and encourage myself to live freely.

If you are a young multiracial person struggling to find your way, I understand.  Being different is so hard, especially with the pressures to fit in that come from your friends, family, and social media.  But please, take my advice.  Being yourself, whether that means fitting in or standing out, is the most important thing you could ever do.  Embrace yourself and the possibilites that come from living above and beyong racial boundaries, and don't let others tie you down to boring racial categories.  We live in a world where classification is more than key, it's essential.  If you don't live inside a box, you're seen as an anomaly, strange, taking up too much space in the world.  What's wrong with taking up space?  Nothing.  What's wrong with being proud of the uniqueness that your identity provides?  Nothing. What's wrong with being different from everyone else?  Nothing.  There is nothing wrong with learning to love yourself, and refusing to let others make you feel that you should do otherwise.

I wish I had someone to tell me these things when I was younger.  My experience as a biracial female would have been so much richer had I learned to love myself from the beginning.  So I pass this information on to you, to encourage you love yourself at all costs..  Please love yourself and embrace the full extent of who you are.  I know it's not easy, I know it can be really rough at times.  But trust me when I say there is nothing better than the feeling that comes from loving every last inch of your multiracial self.

Jenell
The Defiant Dougla

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